Norwegian by birth, Scouse by choice – Ragz’ voice is as sharp and bright as the Arctic sun. But her delicate brand of stripped down folk is as spellbinding as it is deceiving: listen close, allow her space, and her plaintive, powerful songs and her evocative voice will snare you like a siren…
What can we look forward to from your appearance this weekend?
We’ve got a few new tracks on the go. Its exciting playing new material and I think it transforms the energy of the band J It’s gonna be interesting to see how our vibe and sound translates to an outdoor stage – we’re all really looking forward to it!
Tell us a little about your newer pieces – we’re sensing they’re a little darker, more complex?
Lyrically and emotionally the new pieces aren’t that different, but the textures and soundscapes have changed. In truth; I got a little fed up with all the musical labelling people use – it’s like it limits what you’re allowed to sound like. It seemed that being a girl playing an acoustic guitar would only buy me a ticket to the ‘folk train’. Even though I have many favourites in the folk genre, I couldn’t see how it fitted my music. I therefore decided to put the guitar down and pick up music software for my computer instead. If anything I think the songs needed a different platform and I’m getting there, song by song…
…Darker moods. Hmmm. Is that a Scandinavian trait you just can’t shake off?
Hmm, I’m not sure if it’s my roots or just my personality. I like storms, be they emotional one or physical ones.
You’ve supported lots of great singer songwriters and groups recently (Liam Frost notably) who stands out? And what interaction do you get from them, if any?
The first Liverpool Sound City gig we did, was supporting Laura Marling and I still smile when I think of that night. She was lovely! Wild Beasts had quite an impact too – it was one of those gigs where you feel you’ve got lightning bolts in your stomach. Emotionally and personally, the biggest impact was seeing and speaking to Irish singer/ songwriter Foy Vance. His songs and voice grab you and I was completely unprepared for my own reaction. When the first tear escaped my eye, my ears just went: ‘yeah from what I’m hearing, tears make sense’. Foy, himself, was just like his music; inspiring.
What’s the state of health of the Liverpool music scene right now? What would you change about it – if you could?
There really is a lot of talent in this city, but the live scene is over-saturated and it’s hard for anyone to stand out at the moment. Promoters included; There’s tons of them and most seem more concerned about numbers than quality. I’d say, it’s fair enough as you have to make ends meet, but the live scene suffers from it as the enjoyment of music is currently playing second fiddle to people wanting to be ‘King of the hill’. Having said that, I wouldn’t change it, even if I could, because I believe the change will be brought on naturally simply by people reacting to the circumstances. Great artists and great music have risen from the toughest of times and it’s exciting to think we might be on the brink of something amazing.
Who are you listening to right now?
Right at this moment I got ‘Bon Iver’ playing in the background. I fell in love with the first album, ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ a couple of years back.
What’s next for you?
Next, we go into the studio! We’re working with a producer for the first time and I can’t wait to see how this will shape the sound…
Ragz, Williamson Square, 1pm, Sun 29 August